Facebook, like most online entities, has to continuously adjust to the dynamic appetite of its users. There are many popular alternatives to Facebook now. To keep up with the competition, Facebook will now allow teenage users to post publicly online. While this move is controversial considering the onslaught of cyber bullying over recent years, Facebook may not have a choice. Let’s take a quick look at Facebook’s competition.
Tumblr is a social media network for people who like to casually blog about, well, just about anything. You can easily find and connect with other Tumblr users who are into the same thing.
For example, if you search Tumblr for “#green,” a screen collage of neatly formatted pictures will come up. You will see pictures of everything people consider “green” from poetic landscapes and snakes, to green bicycles and sandwich bags full of pot. In an instant, you get a real-time snapshot of what the world considers green.
Compared to Facebook, it is very simple. There are “notes” in the place of FB comments, “reblog” in the place of FB sharing, and a heart icon in the place of FB likes.
Instagram is another very popular social media network created in 2010 and already bought out by Facebook in 2012. Its theme is photo-sharing. You can download the free app on your iPhone or Android.
Take a picture, add a description, and then share it with your followers. The beauty of this app is that, in just a few easy touches of your finger, you can give your photos a professional and artistic feel.
The photos are always cropped to a classic square shape. It differs from Facebook in its simplicity and public nature. You cannot send private messages via Instagram, nor can you send pics to some followers while blocking others. You can, however, set your account to private so that followers will have to seek your permission before they can access your posts.
Twitter, launched in 2006, made the “hashtag” cool. Basically, it’s the way to share your comments with the world – just add a # symbol before the keyword of your topic so other users can find your post easily. Twitter has replaced email as the way for one person to deliver news to many.
Real-time debates and conversation flourish on twitter as users can reply to a hot topic tweet. Twitter is quite simply the post/comment component of Facebook without all the bells and whistles.
Vine, just released by Twitter this past January, is an iOS app that enables you to string together short video clips and share them. You can take a few seconds of video, and then take a few more “few-second” videos. The app will string them together to form an interesting 6 second sound-bite to be shared much like photos on Instagram. If you read this far, you got the point.
Lastly, you have Snapchat. It is essentially Instagram with a self-destruct button. That is, the picture or video you share will automatically delete a few seconds after the recipient has opened it. This app has become widely popular amongst teenagers and young adults. It also enables “sexting” without the long-term consequences. The automatic delete feature creates a sense of security for users sending questionable pics.
In response to Snapchat’s popularity, Facebook, released the Facebook Poke app for iPhone in 2012. Much like Snapchat, photos and videos automatically delete from the app after 10 seconds.
Facebook still stands as the grand daddy of social media networking at the ripe age of 9, founded in 2004. Through the years, though, Facebook has added features as rivals have cashed in on one or two of its features like photo sharing or blogging.
All the while, abuse via internet has become a hot issue and a serious safety concern for parents. Let’s see how social media networks, be it a Facebook giant or a newbie like Vine, balance the threat of cyber bullying with all online user’s –teens and adults- insatiable appetite for change.
Written by: Fatema Biviji